One of the strangest plants I have ever seen is the Cirio Tree. It is a bizarre tree found mostly in the Baja California peninsula in Mexico. A few also grow in mainland Mexico and in Arizona. It is also known as the Boojum Tree (after the Boojum in Lewis Carroll’s book "The Hunting of the Snark"). From a distance, it looks like a hairy telephone pole. But close up, it is more like a telephone pole wrapped in barbed wire. You would not want to climb it. The bark is a greyish-white and is covered in pencil-sized branches, leaves and thorns.
It has creamy yellow flowers when it is in bloom in early spring. The can grow to a height of 15.25 metres (50 feet) or more and live to be well over 100 years old.
They are very slow growing, reaching about one foot every ten years, more or less, depending on the amount of rain. The average rainfall in the Sonora desert is about 6.35 cm (2.5) inches per year. The Cirio collects moisture through its leaves during periods of fog, mist, or light rain, rather than getting moisture from the ground with its roots like most plants. They store moisture in the centre of the trunk, like a cactus.
The Cirio is very strong. It does not sway much in the wind as one might think it would. Probably because swaying in the wind would cause moisture to drop off of its leaves.
The sun gets hot in the Sonoran Desert but don’t be looking for shade under the Cirio Tree.
Seeing strange things like the Cirio Tree is just one of the many reasons that I love to travel. Get out there and explore the world and you will be amazed at what you might find.